Friday, June 21, 2013
SDFM Supports Urban Farmers in Durham
This week, we've got another fantastic article from 17-year old Almira Stirrup, who is covering SDFM vendors as part of her year-long writing project. This article, concentrating on our Cooperative Vendors, will be broken into multiple segments over the coming weeks.
There and Back Again...a New Farmers' Tale.
As veteran shoppers stroll down Vendor Lane at our little market, feasting their eyes on the sudden presence of colorful and luscious vegetables on the tables, they may consider that each new Market season not only brings an abundance of flowers, greens, fruits (oh my) but also that special mix of nervous and excited energy that characterizes so many new farmers during their first venture into farmers’ market sales. Yet, this is one of the things that make the South Durham Farmers’ Market so special – SDFM organizers actively work to encourage urban farmers and new farmers in our community by giving them lower risk market opportunities that allow them to grow their fledgling businesses - and thus far SDFM is the only farmers' market in the area to do so.
As an explanation, SDFM offers Cooperative Memberships to small farmers, which allows multiple growers to band together and sell while simultaneously sharing the cost and responsibility of managing a single stall space. This is good for urban farmers because they have smaller parcels of land on which to grow produce - and for younger rural farmers who are yet unsure of how much produce each crop will yield each season.
Last year, SDFM’s first Cooperative Vendors were Mamasprings and Ladybug Farm. This season, SDFM welcomed the Durham Grown Cooperative, which is a combination of three Durham-based urban farms: Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, Homegrown City Farms and Commonplace Cooperative. Durham Grown’s farmers knew each other prior to entering the SDFM, and made the strategic decision that it would be mutually beneficial work together to expand their separate businesses. Over my next few articles, beginning with the Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, I’ll highlight each of these three farms, so you can get to know each farmer’s journey a little better.
Lights! Camera! Again!
The great folks at All In 4 Health recently released their second commercial - this one encourages kids to shop at farmers' markets. The 30-second spot, filmed at SDFM, has convinced us all that a plushie lion suit is really the most awesome outfit to wear to market ever. Click to view the video....
Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm
As the name suggests, Angier Ave. is a community based urban farm located in an older neighborhood in East Durham. Farm organizers, members of the Bountiful Backyards Cooperative, purchased the lot and funded start up costs through a successful 2012 Kickstarter Campaign as a way to promote summer youth programs for local teens looking to gain work experience, environmental education, and hands on gardening skills. And yet, as a farm kid myself, seeing the word ‘neighborhood’ in a name is very different from going to that place and seeing that, yes indeed, they’re growing produce in a big open lot in the middle of the city of Durham! This garden reminds me of a great machine - the brick, wood. Read More...